March 11, 2013 Turning Thirty

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On Friday, I turned thirty.  Which isn’t entirely odd for me, as I’ve pretty much behaved as if I was thirty for a good chunk of the previous decade.  I settled into adult life super quickly and I’ve loved every moment of it.  But, something feels different about this.  Odd.  A little uncomfortable.  For most of last week I was sad.  Maybe a little depressed, but mostly just blue.   I was blah and I cried for days.  And I don’t think it was at all because of the turning thirty, because I’m not sad about it.  I’m quite thrilled in many ways.  It definitely feels like a new chapter in my life.  There’s something different and I don’t know if it’s just the number.

I think many people are settling into themselves when they hit thirty.   They’ve discovered who they are and they are finally hitting a place where they are comfortable in their own skin.  For me, I’m almost feeling the opposite.  I’ve been pretty solid in the “who am I?” category for a long time, and suddenly, I’m feeling unsettled.  Almost that I packed all of these amazing milestones into one decade!  Too many good things and now, what is thirty going to be?!   How am I going to top building my marriage, building my business, building my home?  What’s next?  I feel like I’m sitting on a plateau and I want to keep climbing up, but I’m not quite sure how.  How do I make sure that I’m constantly being challenged?  What’s the next adventure? I don’t know any of these answer and I hate the feeling of complacency while I’m figuring it out.  Somehow this birthday has brought all of this to the surface.  For some reason I feel that a new number must mean the beginning of a new chapter.

So, here’s to thirty.  To rediscovering and moving up.  To figuring it all out.  To finding new challenges and beginning the next chapter.  Cheers!

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images Flipping Pages: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Guess what, guys? I’m recommending another YA novel! And I’m totally ok with it. You will be, too, once you read this book because it is pure, solid, way more than 24-karat gold. It’s about one of my favorite topics in the Universe: young love. And one of my least favorite: cancer. I know, major downer. But this is so much more than a book about teenagers with cancer. First, the main characters have fun names: Hazel and Augustus. They meet at a support group for teens battling cancer and they fall in love. Deep, hazardous, wild, throw-everything-else-out-the-window-because-this-is-it love. Hazel is our narrator and after about 3 pages, YOU will be deeply in love with her. I know a kid with cancer narrating a book doesn’t sound like a great time, but she’s just perfectly lovely. She gets that life is still happening around her, she gets the cruelty of her malady, she knows how much everything sucks, but she hangs on to her sense of humor through it all. She and Augustus hit it off because of their shared sense of humor that skews dark. They begin talking frequently and they decide to read each other’s favorite books (for me, this is not just romantic, but borders on pornography…shared love of books? Please!)

Teachers are already using this book in the classroom, and for good reason. It’s so relatable. Pick it up today!

Happy Reading,

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March 4, 2013 Entouriste


I have an obsession with travel, as you likely know by now.  It’s pretty much the only thing I want to do with my life.  So, when Ami from Elizabeth Anne Designs told me she was launching a new travel site I was so over-the-top excited!  For her, and for her new venture, of course.  But mostly for the beautiful eye candy that would be coming my way everyday!   Today, Entouriste launched and it’s more beautiful then I ever could have imagined!   I am so looking forward to all the goodness that I’m sure will be coming my way!

And to make it all the more amazing, one of her first posts is our Tuscan cooking class from last summer!   I am honored and thrilled Ami!  So, go over, drool over all the pretty images and just try to stop me from opening up a new tab and booking plane tickets to every single destination!

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February 25, 2013 House of Cards

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Are you watching House of Cards?!  After the debacle that was Lilyhammer, I didn’t think much of this new offering from Netflix.  I’m usually one for sticking to what you know, and was pretty sure that Netflix was going to go down.  But, Holy.Crap.  It’s smart, it’s interesting, it’s creative and it’s ranking up there with the HBO shows that I have come to adore.  The relationships are complicated, the interiors are so classic and I want to wear almost everything that Claire Underwood puts on her amazing body.  And lucky for us, they released all thirteen episodes at once, so I can stuff in three an evening before falling asleep.  Seriously, go watch it.

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I only read books that Jess recommends to me.  Because she knows me well, knows what I might like and has never steered me wrong.  She has me reading a super dark and heavy book that she has assured me will change my entire life.  My reward for all this life altering heaviness will be Miss Buncle’s Book, which she promises will pull me out of the dumps and back to a happy medium!

images Flipping Pages: Miss Buncles Book


Miss Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson

I was so delighted to discover this book, which was originally published in the 1930′s. I think it’d be the perfect gateway for those who want to get started on Austen, Dickens, Eliot, Gaskell and all the other great British classics you never read in high school. First, it takes place in the 20th century, so we’re not going so far back as to be a shock to the system. Cars and telephones exist, but people still have maids, they take the train into “town” and they invite each other for tea. Second, it’s just so much darn fun. By the end, you’ll feel confident and anxious to read some more popular Classics.

Miss Buncle’s Book is basically charm book-ified. Miss Buncle, of the title, has lived in the same tiny English village all her life. Her income isn’t quite what it used to be, so she writes a book in the hopes of making some extra cash. She doesn’t feel quite creative enough to invent a world in which to set it, so the book is about her village and all its inhabitants, though she’s changed all the names. When it’s published under the name John Smith, her little book causes such a ruckus among her neighbors, who immediately recognize themselves in the barely-disguised characters and set out to find the author hiding within the village. I found myself laughing the whole way through at the insane lengths her neighbors go to smoke out the traitor, all the while underestimating poor Miss Buncle. This book is guaranteed to brighten a winter weekend, which is roughly how long it’ll take to breeze through the pages!

Happy Reading,


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February 21, 2013 Basil Hazel

Never in my life did I imagine that I would love a dog so much. Those sad eyes get me every.single.time.

Valentines 0003 Basil Hazel

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February 18, 2013 Traveling Hearts Society


Our very first trip was to Palm Springs.  Amanda wanted to check out The Ace Hotel, and invited a few friends, who invited a few friends.  We didn’t really know each other.  And to be honest, the idea of spending a few days in the desert with strangers was pretty terrifying.  It was 107 degrees that July.  We couldn’t move from the pool during the day and we’re piled on a few beds in the evenings.  Cocktails in hand, hummus & potato chips in our bellies.  We bonded and  The Traveling Hearts Society was born.  These wonderful ladies have become my co-workers, my inspiration and some of my very best friends.  I have no idea where I’d be without them!

And this year, we’re back to the beginning, the place where it all began!  We’ve rented a house in Palm Springs and I can’t wait to lounge by the pool, sip a few cocktails and reunite with these incredible ladies.  I look forward to this trip with these women for six months.   If you want to see what we’re up to, take a look here!

PS Traveling Hearts Society

A frame from that wonderful first trip, from Heather.


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February 15, 2013 Banana Pudding


When I was in college I used to get really bad charlie horses in my calves.  They’d wake me up in the middle of the night and I’d be in so much pain.  A bit of 3 a.m. stretching would always do the trick, but they were far from enjoyable.  I’d read somewhere that bananas would help, so I’d drink a banana milkshake from Cook Out on a pretty regular basis, you know, for my legs.

And while I’m not getting the charlie horses anymore, I’ll eat this pudding forever.  You know, just in case.  This banana pudding from the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook is just so wonderful!  So absolutely delicious.  Go ahead.  Try it! Jess made it for Natalie’s baby shower last weekend (photos coming soon!) and it was such a hit.  And fortunately for me, Jess made so much of it that I’ve been eating all.week.long.  I’m so happy that they’re already in individual servings, so I can’t go too far overboard.


Banana Pudding 1 Banana Pudding

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

16 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/2 cups ice cold water

Small box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix

3 cups heavy whipping cream

Box Nilla Wafers

4 sliced bananas

1.  In the bowl of a mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk and water for about a minute.  Add the pudding mix and beat for about two more minutes.  Transfer to a smaller bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.  You want the mixture to be extremely firm.

2.  In a large bowl on medium speed, whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pudding mixture until fully combined and no streaks of pudding are visible. Mix in the bananas.

3.  In individual jars, divide pudding and top with crushed vanilla wafers.  Cover tightly and refrigerate for about 8 hours before serving.

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It’s Valentines Day!  Which, for me, usually means a few extra kisses and a delicious cocktail (or two!)  This year I’ll be sipping on one of these, inspired by the most delicious treat Chris surprised me with on my long run today, Trader Joes’ Powerberries. These little nuggets of deliciousness are addictive. And amazing. And such a perfect treat!

This cocktail is so super delicious, a wonderful balance of sweet & sour with a hint of chocolate.  A perfect Valentine’s Day treat.  Enjoy!

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Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cocktails

2 part Gin

1 part Meyer Lemon Juice

1 part Le Sirop de Monin Raspberry

Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters


Directions:  Mix gin, lemon juice & raspberry syrup in a shaker with ice.  Strain into glass, add bitters to taste.

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February 7, 2013 January Film


One of my resolutions for the year was to shoot more film.  At least one roll a month.   And on January 31, I realized I hadn’t even touched my film cameras yet.   So, I loaded a roll and shot just a bit around my house.  Decided it would be the first “theme” of the roll-a-month challenge!  So, here you are…
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